Scripture: Lectionary 476: Ephesians 3:14-21. Psalm 33:1-2.4-5. 11-12.18-19. Luke 12:49-53:
Prayer is essential for the life of the Church and everyone who is a member is called to be persons of prayer. Paul often makes of his writings a prayer; we see this when he finishes his introduction and address; he also frequently makes a prayer of several of the passages in a letter where he ends them blessing God and writing an “Amen.”
St. Augustine was enamored of Paul’s writings; it is Augustine who uses the word “desire” to speak of the interior spiritual life to Proba, He directs her to have a desire to pray. The word is almost equivalent to the way we say “I have a passion for this or that.”
Desire to pray is the spark that enkindles our spirit of prayer. We can sense this when we truly have a “desire” for prayer in our lives. If we pray the short passage from Paul given to us today we will have a good idea of what is meant by this word “desire” of Augustine.
We are encouraged by Paul to pray always. This means we need to keep the desire of prayer always alive. The spark that lit the embers must be kept going by adding on the wood. Here is the verse that sparks the embers of prayer: “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life.” Paul thereby joins John the Evangelist in this balance of faith and love.
The expression “faith of the heart” contains both. It is found in greater detail in chapter 10 of Romans.
The entire book of Psalms is filled with desire and emotion. We pray today, “Exult, you just in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting.” Our desire in prayer inspires us to experience what Paul and the Psalm convey to us. We are being led to experience God and Jesus within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who gives us this desire.
Jesus has come to light fire upon the earth and he is not satisfied till all the world is enkindled. We are led to pray with and through the Holy Spirit as we remember the ancient prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and the world will be recreated.” Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.